'Alternative history' researcher and author Graham Hancock has long postulated that a cataclysm some 12,000 years ago might have wiped out advanced civilisations. In his most recent book Magicians of the Gods (Amazon US/Amazon UK) he discusses at length the Younger Dryas period (c. 12,900 to c. 11,700 calendar years ago), which began when temperatures plummeted over the course of just a few decades - and the 'heretical' theory that this event may have been caused by a comet impact.
Now, two new papers recently published in respected journals may perhaps provide material support for that idea. The first, published late last week in Nature's "Scientific Reports", notes the discovery of "a distinct platinum anomaly spread widely across North America and dating to the Younger Dryas (YD) onset", supporting the conclusions of previous papers that have provided evidence for an impact event at that time. The presence of platinum is a strong indicator of an impact event: as lead author Christopher Moore has pointed out, the element "is very rare in Earth’s crust, but it is common in asteroids and comets"; and previous studies have also found "a rise in platinum concentrations over 14 years and subsequent drop during the following 7 years" that is consistent with "the known residence time of stratospheric dust".
Christopher Moore says that his team's finding on elevated levels of platinum...
...is a confirmation of data previously reported for the Younger-Dryas onset several years ago in a Greenland ice-core. The authors for that study concluded that the most likely source of such platinum enrichment was from the impact of an extraterrestrial object.
Our data show that this anomaly is present in sediments from U.S. archaeological sites that date to the start of the Younger-Dryas event. It is continental in scale - possibly global - and it's consistent with the hypothesis that an extraterrestrial impact took place.
The other new paper has just been published in the journal Geomorphology ("A model for the geomorphology of the Carolina Bays). It also provides evidence for an impact event around that time, suggesting that the Carolina Bays may be the remains of "oblique conical craters formed on ground liquefied by the seismic shock waves of secondary impacts of glacier ice boulders ejected by an extraterrestrial impact on the Laurentide Ice Sheet".
Graham Hancock has discussed this new finding on his Facebook page:
The evidence for an extinction level comet-impact event in North America 12,800 years ago, setting in motion the mysterious episode of megafaunal extinctions, floods and freezing temperatures that geologists call the Younger Dryas, continues to grow stronger with a new paper published in the distinguished peer-reviewed journal Geomorphology. You can read a discussion of the implications of the paper, and you can download a pdf of the paper itself, here.
Those who have read my book Magicians of the Gods, now available in an extended and updated paperback edition, will be aware that I focus extensively on the Younger Dryas cataclysm in which I believe not only mammoths, not only the hunter-gatherer "Clovis" culture, but also an advanced prehistoric civilization, hitherto the stuff only of myths and legends, was lost to history. This, in my view, was when we became a species with amnesia.
Check out my previous post on this subject, with more links and papers, here.
You can of course read Graham's thoughts on this topic at length by picking up a copy of Magicians of the Gods from Amazon US or Amazon UK.